Neighborhood eyesore update:
Last year Huntington Town placed this house on its list of blighted properties, a designation that requires a score of at least 100 points on a checklist of violations ranging from peeling paint to infestation by vermin. It was one of 47 properties on the list at that time.
The owner was required to enter a restoration agreement that included putting the property, on Huntington Road, up for sale. It was listed for sale in July at $450,000 and renewed at $440,000 earlier this year.
The town has learned that 58 real estate brokers have seen the property and one offer has been made, town spokesman A.J. Carter said when we inquired last month. The offer was rejected.
That led us to wonder if the conditions of the restoration agreement were being met.
According to the town, the owner is in compliance. He was required "to list the house within a time frame, which he did," Carter said in an email. "We also made him take the electricity out, which he did, and clean up the yard. The house is also secured, so kids can't get in."
Town records show that more than 80 properties have wound up on the blight list since it was started two years ago, he said, and today 16 have been removed. In many cases, the structures were torn down after the properties were sold.
The town's "goal is to eliminate blight," Carter said. The presence of this eyesore demonstrates how difficult that can be.
Readers have chimed in about a driver's experience featured on this page three weeks ago. The driver learned she owed a $25 late fee on a red-light camera ticket -- one she had never received.
The only way to appeal the late fee was to appear in traffic court, which the driver, Kathleen Zielazny of Glen Cove, decided wasn't worth her time. "Who's going to take a day off to go to court to contest $25?" she asked.
"I received the same notice last week for an infraction in Commack," wrote Michael Murphy of Greenlawn. "When I called to inquire I was told that the only way to appeal the $25 late fee was to appeal in person in traffic court. I thought it odd that such an important document could be 'lost in the mail.' After seeing your column, I find it even more odd."
And Laura Cerverizzo of North Massapequa related the experience of her daughter. "The first time she was aware of any ticket was when the notice came saying she never responded to the first summons [for a red light violation in Queens]." She was told the only option was appearing in court -- in downtown Manhattan, which would require unpaid time off from work and the cost of round-trip LIRR and subway fares.
"She really wanted to fight it for the principle issue but like the woman in your article it made no financial sense. She paid the ticket and the late fee. I am sure they are not the only ones!! What a great way to make extra money!"
We don't know how widespread those experiences are, but based on numbers provided by the counties, we can report that late-fee pain is being felt by thousands of drivers each year. The highest numbers were recorded in 2011: In Nassau, 39,374 red-light camera late fees were paid for a total of $984,350. In Suffolk, the fees totaled $858,935.
Here's a breakdown of red-light camera late fees, as provided by each county:
2013 (as reported April 24): $85,475
Suffolk (which began installing cameras in 2010):
2013 (as reported May 1): $133,550
We'll be watching those numbers as more red-light cameras are installed; each county has the authority to double the number of intersections in the program.